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Stalin helped the Capitalists

It is often said by people of both the left and the right that Karl Marx analysis of the capitalism he found in his day is mostly right and, in its thoroughness and insight, unprecedented and ground-breaking. When, however, it comes to his prognosis and predictions reading the future from what happened in the past, Karl Marx writings are being dismissed. Look people lecture the workers have certainly not taken over, and human beings are clearly not fit for communism it will never come about. I would not be quite so certain I leave that to Marxists and religious fundamentalists and the like. It was Marx who spoke of the commodification of everything. Well, everything takes us beyond the purely material ideas, relationships , institutions. When looking around I see that Intellectual Property Rights are a booming market, making its administration more money than the group of people who came up with any idea; single bourses, strip clubs everywhere; the churches, the universities, public spaces, libraries all priorities the open market over any ideas of humanities or cultural heritage. Was Marx really wrong then? It was Marx who pointed out that capitalists will exploit not just simply human labour, but, crucially, will put the netting of profit before any preservation of natural resources. I see that any oil company, any gas company on this earth has

more cloud and more power to make decisions than any Cree native American , any institution set up to preserve the natural environment. Was Marx really wrong then? It was Marx who thought it would be the most industrialised countries of his time, the countries who have the vociferous and organised labour Germany, Britain, France who will lead the socialist revolution. He warned that Russia, being backward and mostly an agricultural and still largely feudal state, is not ready as she did not find herself at the right stage of the development of capitalism. Lenin ignored those words, because he wanted to push his revolution and create a state that fitted the model, by jumping a whole historical stage. Was Marx really wrong then? What Marx did not foresee were the two great capitalist wars which brought a detour to his linear development model. Neither could he foresee Lenins state, nor, crucially, Stalins Russia: determined to develop socialism in one state. The latter is quite a jump, and certainly an invalid one, when following Marxs predictions. Yet more was to come: Stalins direction did the opposite to what everybody claimed he would do: he save capitalism from developing in the way that Marx had predicted. Why? Because Stalins Soviet Russia was set on a mission to prove its model to be right. And the capitalists West did everything to not let this happen. Atomic weapons and proxy wars might have prevented direct blood shed. Yet it was a war that

had to be fought a propaganda war, a war where achievements were moved like chess pieces on a board. Soviet Russia, with no split agendas of individual interests and no qualms about issues of religion focussed on the one route left open: scientific research and achievement1. So there came Sputnik, there came the first man to circle planet earth and a shock to the West. And, as this was part of the competition of the systems, the West scrambled to play catch up university participation was widened, opened and grants (as did the GI bill) made it suddenly feasible for wider sections of the West to be better trained and educated feeding the need for knowledge and innovation to turbo-charge capitalism. This was a different kind of war and though the appalling treatment of individuals appears to belie this the battlefield was the well-being of the masses. Soviet socialism was never a route into communism (it was, after all, nothing more than inefficient state-monopole capitalism). It was, however, attempting to create a model welfare state with lavish funding of human achievements: sciences, art, major projects that trumpet progress (hydro-electric dams, electrification, railways across the largest continent, etc.) and, he who does work does not go hungry and work everyone did (of sorts) and to be free to do so, child-care was sponsored by the big factories, so that labour was free to produce. And, guess what the West build ever better social security into their systems and the result was again turbo-charged capitalism with unprecedented long-term levels of growth and advancement in the West.
Interestingly, in the 19th and 20th century this happened often to be the one route many Jews had to follow in Europe: while offices of state, church etc remained closed, science and medicine were a way of making a mark.
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The Soviet model collapsed in the 1990s. And, with every year, with every latest nut-cracked tin-hatted philosophy of the victorious capitalist right, advance in the science and humanities is stifled, labour is being made more and more unproductive as social benefits and assistance are being sliced away for ever more spurious reasons that have suddenly cropped up. The idea seems to be, that the 99% affected has short-term memories that do not go beyond the lifespan of a Twitter headline. Yet I do not believe that Marx was as comprehensively wrong as interested parties make out. I can see that his prognosis could play out only over a far longer timespan. With nothing else to play for workers really have to lose nothing but their chains and, while African dictatorships can fall because now whole peoples do not fear that they might be individually killed, the underprivileged masses who keep the wheels of contempory capitalism turning might also rise and resist. It might not be the workers party that leads the proletariat to victory, but it may be that a party of workers leads the push for overdue equality. And Karl Marx might have been not wrong on another issue: once natural resources are depleted, the weather patterns push into disarray, water sources scarce and dislocated at that point the remainder of humanity will surely only survive as a whole when everyone co-operates, gives what they are able to give and takes not more than is necessary to keep the fine balance of survival in check: communism, in other words.
Michael TL Pace-Sigge 12/2011